Adventure and courage

Kelly, Jacqueline. The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015.
Twelve-year-old Callie continues her investigations into the natural world in this sequel to the Newbery Honor Book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. When a veterinarian comes to town, Callie expands her knowledge of animal care but secretly, as only her grandfather encourages her dreams and hopes for the future.  Observant readers will notice that each chapter begins with a quotation from The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, the English naturalist whose own father disapproved of his unconventional life but whose maternal grandfather encouraged him. This 312-page novel is highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up.  

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How can I live?

Jeffers, Oliver. The Heart and the Bottle. London: HarperCollins Children’s, 2010.
A poignant story in which a young girl puts her heart away so that it will be safe. The pictures reveal the loss of her father. The words tell how her struggle to live with joy again. A profound story by a master storyteller. Recommended for all ages.

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When I am famous…

Steptoe, Javaka. Radiant Child: the Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
Brilliant double-page illustrations help tell the true story of a collage-style New York artist who died of a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27. The colour, energy, and detail in Steptoe’s paintings are astonishing.  An afterward tells more about both Basquiat and Steptoe and could be used to start all sorts of discussions about the effects of childhood experiences and the nature of creativity. This sophisticated picture book – winner of the Caldecott Medal – is highly recommended for artists of all ages.

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A Wild Pet

Kelly, Jacqueline. Skunked! New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016.
Eleven-year-old Travis adopts two baby skunks in this historical novel for young readers. Set in a small Texan town in 1901, this easy-to-read story focuses on the younger brother of Callie, the main character in two previous novels for older readers: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. While this new novel still features Callie as narrator, the action centres on Travis and his escapades with two wild creatures. A great story for readers 7 to 11 years old. [Country life; historical fiction; naturalists; pets; skunks; Texas]

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Where in the world?

Mizielinska, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinska. Maps. Somerville, Mass.: Big Picture Press, 2013.
Expand your general knowledge with this creative book of maps. All of the continents and many countries are depicted in hand-drawn illustrated maps showing not only geographical features but also famous people, foods, sports, plants and animals, and tourist sites. In fact, everything that you might want to include in your own general knowledge of the world as well as coloured drawings of 83 national flags. First published in Poland, this English translation is highly recommended for readers 8 to 80 years old.

Click HERE for lists of places to know.

Click HERE to practise your knowledge of world geography. 

 

Let me learn!

Hopkinson, Deborah. Steamboat School: Inspired by a True Story. Los Angeles: Disney•Hyperion, 2016. 

A law against educating African Americans was established in Missouri in 1847. But a minister – John Meachum – found a way around this restriction by creating a school in the middle of the Mississippi River. Ron Hubbard, the first African American animator at Disney Studios, provides vivid illustrations for this moving story useful as a read-aloud for readers 9 years old and up. An afterward provides additional information including recommended websites and books. [African Americans; Historical fiction; Missouri;  Racism; Schools]

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Mysteries for all ages

Wenzel, Angela. 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know. Munich: Prestel, 2011.
Who invented oil painting? Why does the Mona Lisa have a smile on her face? What did Jesus look like? These questions and 10 more are all answered in this 45-page book filled with colour illustrations. A time line on each page adds historical context. Recommended for art lovers 11 years old and up.

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